Since 23 January 2012, Vladimir Kozlov has been held in places of detention. On 8 October 2012 a court sentenced him to 7.5 years' imprisonment with confiscation of property under the charges of inciting social hatred, calling to overthrow the constitutional system, and establishing and managing an organised criminal group during the Zhanaozen events in 2011.
The proceedings which led to the sentencing of Kozlov violated the law. At present, the oppositionist is being harassed in prison. The Kazakhstan authorities are also repressing Kozlov's family members.
The trial of Kozlov, initiated in Aktau on 16 August 2012, was accompanied by numerous infringements, violating his rights as the accused. Infringements occurred from the stage of investigation, for instance: attempts to coerce depositions, drastically reduced time to read the indictments, limiting access to defence attorneys or detention under non-humanitarian conditions.
After the conviction against Vladimir Kozlov was announced, all of his movable and real property was confiscated. This confiscation paralysed the work of opposition party 'Alga!' as offices of the party were located at the apartments which previously belonged to Vladimir Kozlov.
On the night of 24 November 2012 Vladimir Kozlov was sent from a custody site in Aktau to prison, yet the authorities did not reveal the location of the prison. Vladimir Kozlov's wife could not exercise her right to meet her husband before he was sent to the place where he was to serve his sentence.
Before sending Vladimir Kozlov to prison, the National Security Committee officers searched his cell in the custody site. They found a mobile telephone, which was most probably a provocation staged by the authorities. Under the pretence of his holding of a forbidden item, Vladimir Kozlov was punished by being sent to a punishment cell for 10 days. The punishment cell had only a concrete floor, there was no access to a toilet and it was bitterly cold since the windows were not glazed. The temperature was minus 5 degrees Celsius. At the same time, the management of the custody site ordered that Kozlov be isolated and barred from visits for six months.
On 30 November 2012 journalists found out that Vladimir Kozlov was in the city of Taraz in the Zhambyl province in the south of Kazakhstan. During that time human rights defender Zhemis Turmagambetova said that there were plans to send Kozlov from Taraz to the North Kazakhstan province (the northern frontiers of Kazakhstan, bordering with Russia).
On 16 December 2012, upon the decision of the Kazakhstan
Ministry of the Interior, Kozlov was sent to Petropavlovsk in the
North Kazakhstan province.
The decision to send Kozlov to Petropavlovsk is against the law. Article 68 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that sentenced persons should serve their prison sentence in the region of their residence (in the case of Vladimir Kozlov, this would be the city of Almaty).
Kozlov's family and relatives repeatedly approached the Kazakhstan Minister of the Interior, Kalmukhanbet Kasymov, demanding that Kozlov be transferred. However, the authorities took no action in the case. The fact that Kozlov has been placed in Petropavlovsk is most probably motivated by attempts to prevent him from staying in touch with his family, and by the intention to send Kozlov to a top security prison (there is no such prison in the city of Almaty).
The ЕС 164/3 prison in Petropavlowsk is known for its stern rigour and the strict control exercised by the management. The working day in the establishment begins at 06:00 am and work continues until 8:00 pm.
After arriving there, Kozlov was allowed to call his wife Aliya Turusbekova. During the three-minute phone call he managed to tell her that the temperature in the North Kazakhstan province was minus 40 degrees Celsius and that he had been punished by being sent to a punishment cell for 9 days (16-24 December 2012). After 9 days Kozlov was quarantined for 15 days, most probably as a result of an acute cold.
During his stay in the convict establishment, the health of the Kazakhstan oppositionist dramatically deteriorated. Due to the lack of the essential medical equipment and necessary specialists in the penal institution, Kozlov is not receiving proper medical care.
During his stay in the custody site Kozlov was repeatedly refused the right of visitation and the right to receive parcels. Meetings with family were obstructed and in September 2012 the administration of the prison refused a request of Markus Löning, the Federal Plenipotentiary for Human Rights of the German Government, to pay a visit to Kozlov.
The stay in prison has a serious bearing on Kozlov's psychological condition. In a letter to the Open Dialogue Foundation, the oppositionist wrote:
Even the awareness that I am in a place where only criminals should be held is immensely depressing; and the prison system has been established for criminals, to suppress aggression and other criminal inclinations; this is why it has a very negative effect on an ordinary, innocent man.
Repressions were also applied to Kozlov's family. In 2011, the house belonging to his mother-in-law was demolished (this is where Kozlov had lived with his wife). In mid-2012 Kozlov's wife, Aliya Turusbekova, who was actively campaigning for the release of her husband, was threatened by a representative of the National Security Committee, Nurlan Mazhilov, who demanded that she 'go silent', otherwise the 'workers of the custody site would crack down on her husband'. On the same day, a wheel of a car she was travelling in fell off, and another wheel was missing three wheel nuts.
The freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.